Alright, I present this to you for your perusal after being harangued by several readers (you know who you are, you fiends *snarl*) into writing this never even wanted to go there story. I'm crossing my fingers I lived up to your expectations. Anyhow, I felt it best to properly introduce Vergil as Dante and Trish are going to need all the help they can get. Please don't try to correct me as her pregnancy progresses as I have seen in other stories of this nature. Not only is her condition based on actual pregnancies I've witnessed, we are talking about a devil where some leeway is called for. That being said, I sincerely hope you don't kill me outright for stepping on hallowed ground and enjoy the story. Please let me know what you think. We'll be getting to Trish in the third chapter. In the meantime, I hope you like how I set the stage. Thanks and remember my weak heart so be tactful!
Uh, I've had some of my favorite readers take a look at this chapter and give me a heads up on possibly problem areas. To those of you who don't know, when I say "bond" I mean the parties involved in one can speak to each telepathically, feel the other's emotions and know their whereabouts. The characters I have who share bonds are adept enough to know how "block" themselves from being read or reached if they want. In saying Dante's now Trish's Master, in my Demon World, there are no equal partnerships, only ownership of others like a master would own a slave. In no way would Dante want a demon to know he considers Trish being equal to him since this would make her a target because her status would rise and she would be seen as more valuable (don't ask - I don't want to go into detail - just accept this for the sake of understanding, okay?). If you come across something else you go, "Huh? WTH?" about, put it in a review so I straighten up any confusion. If you've got questions, you can absolutely bet many other people do too.
Teething Baby Boy Blue
As Devil May Cry closed in around him, Dante sprawled in his usual position behind and across his desk on the main floor. He couldn't stand the tangible deafening silence of the upper levels. The hallways and luxurious rooms echoed an unignorable lingering presence rippling the air with spicy sweet scent, faint laughter, and differing notes of a beloved sultry voice alongside his footsteps - though he tread lightly.
Lonely and cold in an empty home leaving a hole where his heart should be, Dante counted the days turned to months until his heart returned. Damning the silence wrapping around him like a static clinging towel, he recalled the not so good old days when he preferred (maybe), his solitude. Bored out of his skull and feeling slightly crazed, he prayed for something, anything, to break the monotony.
Going rigid, Dante's prayers were answered, only not in any way he ever expected when the door opened. As his gut fisted, his chest was pierced with an invisible steel dagger and the huge ruby hanging from his neck throbbed a heartbeat. Thrown into chaos, he feverishly scuttled to assimilate a secretly yearned for impossibility.
Unable to believe what his senses were telling him, Dante felt a connection he thought he'd never feel again. Readying himself for whatever, he waited under the magazine covering his features turned to stone for the non-stranger to make his move. Ignoring his gut reaction and accompanying stab wound, he was exceedingly glad Trish wasn't anywhere near this potential nuclear blast site.
Casting out his senses again, he was baffled by the lack of threat heading his direction, though with both their shields firmly in place, he had to focus on a blurred read. Bypassing high alert to stiffening shock, he heard a masculine, sardonic, "Knowing your lackadaisical nature, are you planning on lounging there all day without bothering to speak?"
Following the example set by his features, the rest of him turned to stone until Dante was as petrified as a tree lost in an ancient forest and wondered if he could budge a scant millimeter since this had to be a dream. Or nightmare - he'd have to wait until this tune played before he made the distinction. Slowly forcing himself to move his rigidly protesting limbs, Dante uncovered his eyes (ones he really, really wanted to shut) while checking out the location of his weapons.
Languidly straightening into a sitting position, he made himself to look at his long lost twin.
Around the rock lodged in his throat, he nodded a casual, "I'll be damned. Look what the cat dragged in. Vergil. Who'd have thought?" Not him. He'd imagined but hadn't thought this scenario possible. "How's it going?"
"It? I assume you mean my circumstances. As for those, you could say my circumstances have changed," Vergil returned conversationally.
"They have?" Dante asked as he took in Vergil's apparent health, stylish clothing and (uh, oh no, this better not be what he's thinking) large, overnight luggage strapped over his shoulder.
"Yes," Vergil said as he shrugged off the sturdy bag Dante didn't even want to know how he got.
"Yeah? How so?" Dante asked.
Without fanfare he was told as a matter of fact, "I have come to reside with you."
"Come again?" Body instantly regaining fluidity at this news flash, Dante barely kept himself from yelping.
"Well, I suppose I would be more accurate to say I have come to reside with you and Trish."
"WHAT?" Dante shouted, aghast - beyond perturbed, confused and alarmed. "Trish?" he tried to hold back a growling snarl Vergil heard.
"There is no need for your emotional upheaval. I heard after going her way for many a year, she returned to you. The rumor is you then claimed her as her Master while commanding her to stay caste solely to you. Of course I knew this was not the situation as you would be attached as humans are." When Dante's eyes flattened, Vergil waved a dismissive, "Do not be concerned. I said nothing and you are quite aware the Demon World would not comprehend your relationship as I do."
"Is that right?" Dante let loose the growl resonating low in his throat.
Placid dark blue eyes met his as Vergil scolded wryly, "I understand your vocabulary is limited but you could at least make the effort to speak more than three words at once."
The growling mingled with the snarling to become an audible blatant treat as he responded, "Listen you. Trish is off limits. Get me? And as for moving in without an invitation, forget it. This is my place and I call the shots." OK. That wasn't exactly true but that was his story until told otherwise. "And what do you want with Trish?" He added suspicion to his snarling growl of warning.
Raising a brow, Vergil explained, "Why, her guidance naturally. You do know we were acquainted before you met her, do you not?"
Unwilling to think of where Vergil and Trish would have known each other and how he'd, personally, unknowingly severed any chance of a class reunion (guess not), Dante crossed his boots on his desk with a hard slam while crossing his arms. "Not really. I guess I can see where that would be the case, but saying you need her guidance doesn't cut it. Precisely why, and I mean precisely, do you need her guidance which I also figure means advice?" he snapped as unwelcome and unwanted memories rose.
Detecting no give in Dante, Vergil saw no recourse except to lower his shields for the sake of expediency. In voluntarily reaching out to him with their rock solid twin bond, Vergil was taking deadly gamble on trusting Dante. To his disconcertment, Dante found old competitive habits died hard. If Vergil had the courage to open up then he could do no less than return the favor by automatically lowering his to pick up the telegram.
Thrown, he nearly lost his balance as he was struck by the deluge of information coming at him from his brother. Crystalline eyes wide, Dante stared at him as he sped read the information Vergil was forwarding at the speed of light. Brows drawn together in moderate pain, he fought to understand Vergil's recent experiences, specific past ordeals and current intentions.
Within their bond, they were both adept at concealing that which they considered private yet were utterly unable to deceive each other.
Stunned, Dante blurted, "You gotta be kidding me!"
"No. You know I do not lie. I wish to live in the Human World and was freed when the true Hell Gate opened. I have discovered I can tolerate the company of humans for a short while before growing bored. I understand you would not allow me entrance into your home if I chose to slay humans, much less leave me be, therefore I have not nor have any intentions of doing so. You can rest easy. I seek, shall we say... more worthy demonic prey."
From what Dante begrudgingly deciphered, Vergil had a well earned need for revenge. And he sure hadn't lost his fangs and claws. He'd clearly sensed and seen they were sharper and as eager for blood than ever.
He didn't know or care, but, boy, was he glad he wasn't included in the need for revenge department.
If Vergil was serious about maintaining the "rules" he'd set in the Human World, and he was, Dante was acceptable to him hanging around. Tipping the scales, what Vergil hadn't said aloud was he not only needed Trish's advice on how to adjust to living in the Human World after living long within the Demon World, he needed Dante's too.
Suppressing an unmanly and potentially hazardous impulse of leaping to heartily embrace his twin for returning to him, Dante replied, "I get you. And I got no problem with you making your home here, though I'll have to pass it by Trish. So we're cool?"
At Vergil's calm certainty this was a done deal, Dante had the mixed urge to either sigh in resignation or rumble as he inquired as if he'd seen him yesterday, "Naturally. I assume you have adequate accommodations? Or do I need to perhaps rearrange a room?"
Knowing the refined standards Vergil considered adequate, Dante's disgruntlement shifted. Biting his lip to hold in the chuckle, he replied, "Sure of yourself much? No. You're all set. Once Trish moved in, she did a bang up job remodeling. I'm fairly positive you'll find plenty of room you'll find 'adequate.'"
Content this meeting was proceeding easier than he expected, Vergil nonchalantly remarked since he knew this was a deal breaker, "I will take you at your word. While we wait for Trish's agreement, would you be so kind as to return Yamato and my half of Mother's amulet to me?"
Whoa! Going halfway into battle mode, Dante bolted upright as he thought of just who he had entrusted the sword to. Man, was Vergil going to be pissed. Maybe he could pull a divert and evade tactic and get it back from the kid without Vergil knowing?
'Cause there's no telling what his response is gonna be, Dante winced as his various, gotta stay on your toes to stay in one piece, fights with Vergil came to mind. He found himself vaguely wondering if Nero fell into the human safety zone or would be placed on the demon endangered prey list as the kid was no match for Vergil - without doubt. With Nero's unpredictable temperament (yeah, that was the mild description), the kid was bound to fall in the latter category.
Thinking of Vergil's prissy manners, Dante had to find some way of keeping Vergil out of sight and as far away from him as possible. Talk about two opposing atoms coming together to create an atomic blast. Stalling, Dante asked as if startled, "Yamato? What would you know of the sword? You've been without it for awhile. Considering its disappearance, what makes you think I have it?"
Narrowing his eyes, Vergil purred, "Do not toy with me Dante. You know I know only Yamato could open and close the Gate. In addition, you are well aware I was aware the instant it was fully restored and came to life in the Human World."
Crap. So much for divert and evade.
Before unleashing a sleek panther from Hell (chancing he wouldn't sharpen his fangs in the process), Dante threw Vergil a tasty bone to gnaw on by taking the amulet from under his shirt. Bringing forth his power he separated the ornate brooch. As he handed him his half, he marked Vergil's hand compulsively tightening around the flickering jewel.
In a slicing flashback, Vergil's fist became his own as the past blurred with the present. Painfully, he remembered how he'd clutched the same twinned half of the amulet with its chain broken in the very same way all those long years ago. Reliving that frozen, horrified moment when he'd discovered he'd cut down his own brother, Dante didn't need to tap into Vergil to know what he was feeling.
Shaken, Dante watched him withdraw a sturdy gold chain from his inner pocket. Disturbance met amusement. There's Vergil for ya. Seems he hasn't changed all THAT much. Dante figured he should have made Eagle Scout standing by now with his always be prepared Boy Scout motto.
Savoring the feel of the lost keepsake and talisman once again resting on his chest where it belonged, Vergil idly asked, "Speaking of living arrangements, where is Trish? Do you not wish to contact her before I settle into my chambers?"
He got his turn to be a bit perturbed as he felt Dante's frustrated, lonely ire. "She's on sabbatical," he replied curtly.
"Pardon?" Vergil inquired.
"You know. She's like on one of those special programs studying white arcane arts stuff to add to the black ones she knows. Since coming to the Human World, she's been wanting to know more about white magic, sorcery, herbs, rituals etc., etc, and this was her big chance," Dante explained.
Understanding, Vergil responded, "I see. Trish always did enjoy learning new subjects she took interest in. Will she be home soon?"
"That depends on what you mean by soon," Dante sounded off in irritation, "The temple she's at is overseas with a six month intensive course load. She comes into town when she can. Don't get uptight. We got a bond as tight as ours and I can get in touch with her whenever. In the meanwhile, it's just you and me. Thinking of postponing moving in until she's back for good?" Dante couldn't hide the hint of hope as he asked Vergil that question.
With a faint smile of recognition lighting his features and eyes, Vergil read Dante like a book with full color illustrations. Speculating he had a reason for pushing him toward the door, he loftily told him, "That will not be necessary. I am certain we can somehow remain in close range without killing each other."
Maybe not killing. Try maiming and beating each other bloody. Or had he deliberately left that part out? More to the point, Vergil had shut the door behind him on his way in and wasn't about to leave. Fuck. There went Dante's window of opportunity to sneak past him to get to Nero before Vergil got the heads up.
Picking up his mixed bag of emotions, Vergil took a stab in the dark, "I can feel your turmoil. Though my arrival is somewhat of a shock (Somewhat? VAST understatement, came Dante's internal jerk knee response to that little observation), I am perceiving other distressing feelings emanating from you. I do not understand. Are you upset Trish is away from you? I would have thought if you care for her as much as I can tell you do, then you would be pleased she is enjoying herself. Or am I mistaken?"
Scrambling, Dante retorted, "Since when do you care about my feelings? I don't get it. You stroll in here like you own the place, basically announce you're staying whether I like it or not, then are all concerned about my peace of mind. What gives?"
"Before I answer, I wish an answer to my question as I have a feeling you are evading me."
Growing more agitated by the second, Dante sensed no leeway in Vergil. "You just won't let up, will you? Fine," Pacing restlessly while scrubbing his scalp and mussing his hair with his fingers irritably, he huffed, "Of course I'm pleased for Trish. It's just that... Hell, you wouldn't understand and call me a wuss."
Shifting his weight to one leg, Vergil crossed his arms saying, "Try me."
Spinning on a heel to a standstill, he snapped, "I swear you're like a burr stuck in a cat's fur. OK. I'm lonely. Alright? Happy?"
To Dante's incredulous disbelief, Vergil responded, "I find no pleasure in your pain. I understand this emotion all too well to mock yours. Though the feelings you harbor for Trish are beyond my experience or ken, they are quite profound. I can see where you would feel sorrow for yourself and glad for her and even, while strange, for both of you."
Attempting to gather his scattered wits together, Dante's aquamarine eyes widened. Did he hear right? Vergil being sympathetic? Or trying to be? Maybe he really was asleep and dreaming because this was too far out to comprehend.
Surreptitiously pinching himself, Dante had to know, "You nailed the target dead on. I can't wrap my head around what's going on. Why aren't you going for my throat? I'd have thought after our last go 'round you'd be after my blood but good." Sensing Vergil's hesitancy and he wasn't as blasé as he appeared (welcome to his club), Dante waited patiently for him to get himself together.
Somewhat haltingly, Vergil explained, "I have come to despise being singled out to be played by demonic trickery. I have no desire to provide the Demon World with entertainment and any inhabitant of that world trying to engage me in such has been taught a thorough lesson in the meaning of foolhardiness."
I bet they have, was Dante's appraisal at this admission as he assessed a power within Vergil to rival his own. Moreover, with his smarts, Dante would bank on him knowing as much about the black arcane arts as Trish.
Thinking Vergil would strangle himself Dante paid attention as he grudgingly confessed with great reluctance, "Within the Demon World I had much time to ponder as I regained and rebuilt my strength after being cast down into the depths of Hell," sliding accusatory, dangerous eyes at Dante who shrugged, "How was I supposed to know it was you?"
"Eventually, I realized whereas I had always considered the Human World Mother's home, I had failed to consider this was in reality Father's home as well. Yes. He may have been birthed in the Demon World as a full devil, but he chose to reside in the Human World."
"Ya mean it took you this long to figure out after 2000 years or so, he made his choice which world he preferred?" Dante interjected sarcastically.
Standing firm against Vergil hissing, "There is no need to rub salt into the wound as the saying goes. He had lived longer in the other world, did he not?" Dante hissed back, "Maybe, maybe not. I wonder why you didn't think of that before? Could be you wanted to take his place in the Demon World because you looked down on 'pitifully weak humans.' Have you finally gotten humans possess something demons don't? Your ends didn't justify the means."
Before he lost control, Vergil held up a hand while taking a cleansing breath. "I did not come here to argue with you over the past."
"Yeah? Says you. Keep going. I'm all ears," Dante shot.
Glaring, Vergil went on, "If you must know. Yes and yes. I did choose to ignore the human spirit in reaching for the heady power of the devil inside us. You, yourself, should understand this as you enjoy your devil as much as I enjoy mine."
"Well Vergil, you may have a valid point there but are you actually trying to sell me on you wanting to explore your human side? I seem to recall one of the first things you asked for, besides a place to stay, was your sword. That sure doesn't sound like living in peace with the humans to me. And where'd you get those high end threads and other niceties? Decide to do a little shoplifting after making sure there wouldn't be anyone around to charge you for them?" Dante mocked skeptically.
Slitted eyes turning an ice blue, Vergil acidly rebutted, "Are you genuinely suggesting I would lower myself to stealing? How dare you accuse me of craven actions after revealing myself to you? I did explain I have not slain any humans since returning to the Human World, did I not? Are you going to pretend you do not know I earned them?"
"Earned them?" Dante drawled, going with the pretending act trying to throw Vergil off track, "How the mighty have fallen - and in the Human World too. A damn shame if you ask me. Since when did the full of himself Vergil stoop to honest labor? Tell me anyway. Exactly how did you earn them?"
Becoming annoyed, Vergil drawled back, "You wish to maintain this game? You want to try my patience? Even you have the intellect to know how I would acquire funds."
Grumbling, Dante did and took an educated guess Vergil commanded a higher commission than him in killing demons with his stuck-up superiority complex.
Smirking, Vergil silently sent Dante, "You got that right," before asserting, "Aside from insulting me, I also noticed you neglected to mention Mother's amulet. Are you deliberately provoking me? You know I speak the truth. You are as perverse and contrary as ever."
"You bet. Still think this arrangement you set up is going to work?" Dante returned the smirk.
Cobalt eyes turned speculative as Vergil mused aloud, "You are provoking me. I wonder why? You are hiding something." Dante stopped his start before Vergil noticed - too bad Vergil did. Fiendishly pleased he'd been on target, he shrugged, "No matter. You cannot deceive me for long." Scowling, Dante was not pleased and knew his turn to lay his cards on the table was fast approaching.
Then something deep inside Dante clutched and churned as he felt Vergil's sincerity as he confessed, "Having come this far, I will go the distance and address your original concern. First, to appease your mind, though difficult, I will admit I am pleased you are pleased to see me. Before escaping into the Human World, I had already decided to seek you. I also found it fortuitous Trish was still within your acquaintance for reasons you know. In my reflections, I arrived at the conclusion we have both been played by various demons in their desire to obtain us or our blood."
Undone, Dante completely related. He sent him an evilly gleeful supportive call to battle, "Bring it on. We'll show just who plays whom," and felt Vergil's matching agreement.
After receiving and returning Dante's confidence, bolstered, Vergil revealed, "We are stronger together. I weary of my solitary existence. There is no escaping through our differences we share similar traits and interests. As brothers, do you not think we should stand and fight side by side rather than be divided by common loathsome foes?"
Oh man, NOW what am I gonna do? Dante mentally groaned. At Vergil's must've been rough on him candor, he'd sealed the deal on Dante wanting his brother with him for real. He only hoped Vergil felt the same once he unveiled the bomb he was hiding.
Tentatively, he started, "Alright Vergil. You win. You don't have spill your guts anymore - I'm with you."
Thank God, Vergil was glad to hear Dante's surrender because he didn't know how much more he could bear.
When Dante saw Vergil practically slump in relief (as much as Vergil could slump), he decided to go for broke while he was almost down for the count. "Listen Vergil, I got something to tell you but you gotta swear not to go crazy demon on me."
Crazy demon? Gads. What has Dante done this time? Vergil waited in dread as he braced himself for the worst. Resigned to another of Dante's "brilliant" schemes, Vergil sighed, "Knowing you as well as I do, I cannot promise to become angered but will do my utmost to contain myself."
"Ah. Thanks. I think. Anyway, the fact is, I don't have Yamato," was the first thing Dante hit Vergil with.
Abruptly coming to a standstill, Vergil narrowed his eyes as he clenched his jaw, "What did you say?"
"You heard me. This is the part where I don't want you freaking out 'cause I know where the sword is and can get it back. And I don't want any blood shed in the process. If you try to find the sword on your own, you'll have to go through me. You wanna take me on? Try me. Just stick to my rules and we'll be fine," Dante uncompromisingly stated.
Hearing the challenge, Vergil's eyes flashed blue-white lightning. Rules? You wish. And we are not fine.
Halting his fury on a dime, he felt Dante's resolve combined with concern and forcibly reined in his immediate impulse to attack as he mulled over Dante's disclosure. If he knew where the sword was and didn't have it but could get it back without wanting any blood shed, then he must have entrusted to someone else. Lord forbid Dante would have had the wit to hide Yamato in an impenetrable vault with a sturdy complex combination lock - overseen by top of the line security cameras.
Damnation. This sounded complicated and Vergil hated complications. No wonder Dante was tiresomely reluctant in being forthcoming.
When Vergil visibly began going into ice mode, Dante lazily leaned back while casually moving his hands up his thighs toward Ebony and Ivory - waiting. Clearly feeling his fight to retain the glacial control he was so proud of, Dante could practically hear him counting backwards from ten in order to maintain.
Barely managing to hold on to the composure Dante was carefully studying, Vergil slightly growled as he gritted through his teeth, "What are you waiting for? Do you need me to ask you for a map? Believe me when I say you most assuredly would not like my tone if I ASK for one. Let us retrieve Yamato. I sorely miss my birthright and want to be reunited with my sword."